Style Guide

Last updated: November 2017

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication - Leonardo Da Vinci

Basic rules for all articles

All stories must conform at all times to high standards of spelling, grammar, punctuation and prose.

All stories must be substantial. Stories must be longer than 200 words, excluding quotations.

All quotations must be attributed to credible English-language or foreign-language sources, for example: newswires, the regional and national media, broadcasters, official press releases, news conferences, and officially authorised media.

Quotations must be followed by a link to the original source if readily available online. Links should point to the exact page where the claim or quote can be seen. (ie. Not the publication’s homepage)

If quotes are from a news conference, make it clear when the event was held.

It is acceptable to used quotes gathered from a post-match broadcast interview without a link as long as the broadcaster is properly credited.

Examples:

“Alexis Sanchez is the best player in the Premier League,” Henry told the Guardian.

The link to the original source should be added to the publication name and italicised. If there is no link, the publication name should simply be italicised.

“Cesc Fabregas is an injury doubt for this weekend,” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday morning.

Headlines must be relevant, factually accurate and neither sensational nor misleading.

Headlines must not consist largely of quotes taken from other sources and must not contain the name of more than two teams or individuals.

Headlines must not include words in block capitals or contain exclamation marks.

Names and numbers

Don’t introduce well-known figures – we assume that our readers have a strong knowledge of the subject they are reading about and don’t need to be told who people are.

e.g. Arsene Wenger believes… NOT Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes…

In a rare case that you believe the average reader would not know the title of the person, then do introduce them with their title in lower case.

Numbers one to nine should be spelled out in full. All numbers from 10 and above should be written as digits. e.g. one, two, three, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 24 etc.

£1m not £1 million or one million pounds.

League positions: first, second, third… 10th, 11th, 12th.

Rankings: world number one or world No1.

Dates: Arsenal will face Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on 7 February (2015).

Times: The north London derby kicks off at 12:45 GMT.

League Cup not Carabao Cup.

Titles on and off the pitch

On-field positions: goalkeeper or shot-stopper. centre-half, not centre-back. centre-half, right-back, left-back and full-back all take a hyphen.

Off-field titles always take lower case: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre. Queens Park Rangers director of football Les Ferdinand.

Awards always take lower case: Luis Suarez is the reigning PFA player of the year. Santi Cazorla was named the PFA fans’ player of the month.

Guidelines for player ratings articles

Player ratings articles should start with the home side followed by the away side.

Each rating must begin with the player’s full name. All players are then referenced by surname only within the copy. The first rating should be presented as being out of 10 and the rest as single numbers.

Substitute appearances of little impact and less than 15 minutes can be ignored, using N/A.

You can highlight the game’s standout performance with man of the match in brackets next to the player’s full name.

Triple check names and watch out for common pitfalls such as Raheem Stirling (Sterling), Jermaine (Jermain) Defoe and Wojcech (Wojciech Szczesny).

Player ratings should be filed within 15 minutes of the final whistle and copy sent in a raw email.

Examples:

Petr Cech Soaked up the love of the home crowd and really had little else to do, apart from save the second-half penalty. 6/10

Kurt Zouma Wasn’t really tested on his Champions League debut but looked assured alongside Terry. Had a header saved early in the second half. 6

John Terry (man of the match) The Chelsea captain led by example. The centre-half commanded his area well and pulled off a brilliant goal-saving tackle. 8

Guidelines for talking points articles

Talking points articles can range from three to five points.

However, regardless of the number of talking points in an article, each point must be a minimum of 130 words.

Use a player’s full name at first mention and surname-only in subsequent mentions. This rule applies throughout the article – not for each individual talking point.

The score-line, goal-scorers, the stadium should all be mentioned somewhere in the copy, preferably in the first or second point.

Surnames only in the title of each point. e.g. Van Gaal must address defence

Talking points shouldn’t read like a three to five par match report. Don’t be afraid to give your: Where do you think the match was won or lost? Where does the manager need to strengthen? Etc.

It pays to do 10-15 minutes of research before kick-off.

Talking points articles should be filed within 15 minutes of the final whistle and copy sent in a raw email.

Cesc Fabregas
'Real character': Cesc Fabregas sends message to Chelsea FC star Olivier Giroud
Frank Lampard
Mark Lawrenson predicts the winner of Chelsea FC v Leeds United
Michael Owen
Michael Owen rates Chelsea FC’s chances of winning Premier League title
Frank Lampard
Dimitar Berbatov states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Leeds United
Gabriel Martinelli
Mikel Arteta sends message to Arsenal about Gabriel Martinelli